Last 2018 was no less than 25 years since Magic the gathering first saw the light. Since then he has done nothing but reap successes and an increasing number of players. A large number of collections have been launched on the market, countless different cards, many game formats have been created for all tastes, etc. Few people in the world there are who throughout their lives have not had any kind of experience with this famous card game. After many years dedicated to creating a satisfying and fun physical gaming experience, Wizards of the Coast gives the definitive leap to digital gaming with MTG Arena, a game that aims to bring that same experience that we mentioned before to the comfort of our computers.
Let's face it, Magic is not an easy game to play . The game has tons of mechanics and interactions that can affect the game in many ways. Each turn has its phases, some cards can be played on our opponent's turn, when dealing damage we can respond with our creatures, etc. That is not easy to take to a digital game, because many times the experience is sought to be agile and uncomplicated, but MTG Arena despite this handicap manages to live up to what is sought when we play on the computer (for the moment , the only platform that houses the game). MTG Arena is a perfect game both for a quick game and to spend all afternoon playing cards, without sacrificing at any time the playable core that has made it the renowned trading card game that it is today.
MTG Arena offers various game modes. The main one is the built mode, in which we will use the cards that we have available in our collection to assemble a deck with which we will play the online games. To facilitate the introduction to the game a little, MTG Arena offers us some pre-built decks so that we can start the game with cards that are synergized with each other, preventing us from frustrating ourselves when building or playing totally random decks for lack of cards in the collection. These decks are grouped by archetypes from the latest collections, and are perfect for discovering mechanics or getting used to colors that we are not used to playing. In this way we are sure to find one that suits our tastes or style of play, feeling comfortable with it in games.
We will also have special events available, in which we will play draft or sealed tournaments, in which we will have to build a deck with the cards that touch us in random envelopes. To play these events we will have to pay a registration, which is made with in-game coins or gems.
These are achieved as we play, and we win, because they will give them to us as a reward, but also when carrying out the missions that the game marks us. Every time we finish one they will give us a variable amount of coins, which will depend on the difficulty of the mission. These commissions are of many kinds, and sometimes it will be worth us to play lands, spells of a certain color or win a certain number of times. In this way the game forces us to try new things if we want to expand our collection.
MTG Arena puts at our disposal a store in which to spend the coins and gems that have cost us so much effort to earn. We can buy card packs, new skins for these, avatars and, of course, card envelopes. Right now we can get envelopes that go from Ixalan onwards, including the most recent one which is El Trono de Eldraine.
In the physical editions when you open an envelope we find cards of different rarity, one of them being of rare or higher category, so in MTG Arena we will find the same situation. On the other hand, in its digital aspect, in the place of a card we can find a wild card of the same rarity as the card that could have come out in that place. This wildcard can be used to create any card of the same category, that is, we can change it for the card we want or need. That is why there are common, infrequent, rare or mythical wilds and like the other cards it is easier for us to get some more than others. This is especially useful when building decks , as we do not always have the cards we want, if we have these wild cards we can create them without problem.
But not only by opening envelopes will we increase our collection, but by doing so we will have a prize. As we get envelopes and open them, a percentage of the treasure chest will be filled, which when we reach 100% we will be able to access its content, which can be wild cards or rare or mythical cards.
A long time has passed since MTG Arena was in beta until now, and during that time the collections that have come out in the Magic universe have been added, and these have coexisted together in the game. With the release of The Throne of Eldraine, some of these collections were no longer usable in the standard format, which has also been brought into digital play. For this, it has been chosen to “divide” the game in two, on the one hand, the standard mode in which it is played from Ravnica Guilds onwards. On the other hand, we have the Historical mode in which all the cards available in the game can be used. Making this a logical step within the game, and reflecting the standard format in MTG Arena is a success, but if we look at the historical mode this falls somewhat short of collections, especially when in the physical game in addition to standard there is Modern , which houses a large number of old collections. We hope that with future updates MTG Arena will also bet on all kinds of formats that are already played around the world by adding these collections.
Navigating our collection is very easy, as well as building decks, thanks to the interface and filters that we have. We can filter by color, type of card, cost, whether or not we have it in the collection, etc. This is appreciated as we will spend a lot of time reviewing and fine-tuning our decks to make them more competitive. Once inside the game we can appreciate that the transfer of the mechanics to a digital game has been done tremendously well, because as I said, it is something that is not easy. With each move we will have time to read our cards, make decisions and play what we think is convenient , just like in the opponent's turn since we can always browse the cards on the table at all times.
The game is very intuitive and we always have buttons available that help us to follow the steps that each phase of our turn has. In addition, we have the option to pause the game to play cards as an instant, in response to plays made by our rivals, something key in Magic. If we are new to the game, this will help us with visual guides about the course of the game, which is great to learn little by little how everything works. In this case, the games may be somewhat slow, since there are many things to keep in mind, but as we become familiar with them (and with our deck) these games become much more agile and fun.
MTG Arena's interface is really simple , and it's very easy to navigate between menus, deck builder and games with few mouse clicks. You might well think that such navigation could be transferred with relative ease to touch screens, where I personally think that the game could work really well, since it is very comfortable for players to be able to play anytime, anywhere.